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Losing Focus With Your Image Feeds?

Sending too many images to prospective buyers is a cardinal sin, but often one that is committed due to lack of staff and time.  How do we know a Focused Feed of images - edited down to meet the target...
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Brand Info – Find It to Protect It

Huge numbers of celebrity images contain brand information, even if the photographer and their agents don't realise.  The question isn't so much if it can be found (it can) but who will benefit from those...
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New Year, New Ideas

As image and news agencies get to grips with the challenges of 2017, here are a few ideas about things you could change to make life easier, and improve sales: Curate to improve performance - Spewing unedited...
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You Choose – the Hard Way, or the Easy Way

It's one of the oldest lines in the book: "we can do this the hard way, or the easy way - your choice".  The astonishing thing is how often people opt for the hard way and suffer the consequences.   But...
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Consider These Image Library Software Partners

Picsell Media uses software from some of the biggest and best providers, working in and on their systems to deliver efficient results when entering metadata and managing image flow.  Here are three providers...
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Getting Started With Outsourcing

Whilst many image agencies see the benefits of outsourcing photo desk work in terms of improved performance, cost control and allowing better focus on core business, it is another matter to get started on...
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Helping Image Libraries Increase Social Media Use

We recently updated our customer relations management system (CRM) and found some interesting trends in use of social media by photo agencies since our last big roundup six months ago.  More agencies are...
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Take The 1,000 Image Challenge

Prospective clients often wonder if they really have the sort of images that contain many saleable brands in them.  Our 1,000 Image Challenge will answer the question, for free. All you have to do is contact...
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Now Get Services By The Hour

With shrinking numbers of photo agency staff, it is often a problem to cover duties which need to be done intermittently, or for just a few times each day.  That problem becomes even bigger if you're covering...
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Image Galleries Sales Opportunity

The duplication of effort involved in preparing galleries of celebrity and news images for blogs and web sites presents a sales opportunity for switched on photo agencies. Image: Shutterstock The size of that...
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Brandlink Launches To Help PRs Find Stars And Brands

Represent a brand or in charge of its publicity, but struggling to know when celebrities are wearing or using that brand?  A new innovation from Brandkeywording.com can keep your finger on the pulse.  ...
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Mixing Your Deadlines To Maximise Cash

Being first with the news isn't always best, as deadlines become more and more complex amongst the many forms of publications, both physical and electronic.  Working out the right mix of delivery deadlines...
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Targeting Image Feeds For Sub Agents and Resellers

Poor targeting of image feeds sent to sub-agents and resellers can be costly, but there are ways of avoiding that mistake. With photo and news agencies having complex webs of sellers throughout the world, it...
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Innovative Solutions For The 21st Century

Picsell Media has a single-minded goal – to help image companies, and those who use images, to make the most of the world of digital imagery by standing out from the crowd in terms of performance and meeting customer needs.

Often that involves improving quality and efficiency with our outsourced metadata and workflow solutions. We also help our clients develop new revenue streams, and ways to beat the competition in a crowded marketplace through more focused marketing and accurate research.  Whether it’s because your company no longer has the staff, you can’t cover the 24/7 sales day, or you need new ways of making money – we can help.

With offices in Auckland and London, we span the time zones.  With a background in image syndication and journalism, we have a unique insight into the problems faced by all concerned.  And with a reputation for innovation, quality and integrity, it’s no accident that we work for some of the biggest names in the business.

Read below to find out more about what we have to offer.

Image Desk Streamlines Workflow 24/7

Running a photo desk every hour of the day and night is a time-consuming and costly business.  As image agencies increasingly concentrate on the need to make sales and generate revenue, the crucial tasks of getting images to market can seem like a heavy burden. But if that work isn’t done well, sales and profitability suffer.  So what’s the solution?

By outsourcing the basic image desk and workflow tasks to Picsell Media, you can remove the headache, while improving the quality of work.  Not to mention that if you are only working within business hours at present, we can insure your production gets where it needs to around the clock from our offices in London and Auckland.

With years of experience working for the biggest names in the business, our staff know how to get images and videos to market on time, looking good, with concise and literate captions, and accurate keywords and metadata.  They can help you avoid embarrassing factual errors and the potential for legal problems from defamation, privacy laws or court orders.  They can also deal with the complexities of exclusive image sets and on-hold procedures, working via web sites, or by using image flows.

If there’s little or no work to be done, you don’t have to pay for staff to be twiddling their thumbs or doing other make-work tasks badly.  There are no more problems with recruitment, training, rosters, office space and administration costs – just a regular bill based on the work actually done.

Your procedures will be documented to ensure consistency, with our Client Database detailing the various procedures for a myriad of contributors and their particular ways they need rights, editing and captions handled.  We can even find ways to streamline your procedures to get work done faster and better.

For a free initial consultation, just get in touch by clicking here.

Keywording, Metadata For Editorial & Stock

Relevant and accurate keywording for editorial and stock images and videos is the primary tool for getting them found and sold.  Not to mention identifying the correct photographer, the rights, locations and more.  It is no accident that the most successful image libraries in the world invest heavily in keywording and metadata.  As archives continue grow, it is the secret sauce that feeds sales.

But perhaps not so secret, as Picsell Media staff are experienced in delivering a range of keywording standards, from Getty and Alamy through to bespoke standards for celebrity photo agencies and archives.

Those who have good keywording can atest to the advantage that gives their images against their contributors in large aggregator image sites and the market generally.  They know that customers keep coming back because they can find what they want, while others make a token effort with AI or crowd-sourced keywords, or none at all.

The cornerstones of the keywording effort are vocabularies, templates and keywording rules – all documented for each client and their specific needs.  Picsell Media staff – almost all university graduates with degrees in Communications, Art History or English – work from offices in London and Auckland.  No outworkers, no outsourcing to Third World countries.

Whether you are using a controlled vocabulary with a detailed taxonomy, or need keywords added on the fly, our team is up to the task.

As well as standard editorial and stock keywording, we offer specialised services such as keyword fix-up, fashion and beauty, brand keywording, street style, and even keywording of bib numbers in images from fun runs, marathons, triathlons and other competitions.

To find out more about what we have to offer, click here to make an enquiry.

New Revenue From Celebrity Brand Images

Brand for signatureMany celebrity, news and sports photo agencies have a wealth of images which contain brand associations.  In most cases, those associations go unnoticed and unsold.  We can change all that for image libraries, brand publicisers and retailers – unlocking new ways of making money through native advertising, PR use and “get the look” advertorial features.  Not just with fashion items, but by taking advantage of the many possibilities presented by other types of products – from baby bottles to sports cars.

Being able to identify brands within celebrity, news and sports images can create revenue in a number of ways.  The traditional avenue has been to assist fashion editors and bloggers needing to find and license images to illustrate fashion trends and the work of particular designers.  But increasingly the trend is to license images to public relations firms, brand managers or advertising agencies.  In turn, these companies make their money by launching social media campaigns and supporting native advertising with authentic images of real celebrity news.  Native advertising, supported by such “real” images, is beginning to take over from the far more expensive and difficult-to-organise product placement services.  This is even more so due to the growth of adblocking software and the scandal of click-through fraud. Via our Brandkeywording.com brand, we offer the following services:

  • Identifying and keywording brands within images to enable existing sales teams to increase their success
  • Supporting sales with Front Line Image Alerts sent to your sales people and/or potential buyers immediately the brand images are identified from new production
  • Making sales on a commission basis on behalf of the image agency
  • Providing URL links to brands in celebrity images for “get the look” and similar features
  • Working with retailers to utilise celebrity brand images to boost online sales

Getting Images To The Front Of The Queue

Core for signature

Via our Core Celeb brand, we have affordable solutions to get celebrity and news images preferential treatment in key international markets.  We create carefully-edited, well-labelled and targeted feeds of the latest shots, which photo buyers need just a few minutes to look through.  To support that work, we find the best images as they arrive at our clients’ servers, and send email alerts to assist salespeople and photo editors alike.  We can also assist with rating images on your web site or provide image research services for your customers, charged on an hour basis.

Photo editors are increasingly burdened by a deluge of images as sellers try to get their latest pictures in front of purchasers.  It’s an understandable, but increasingly unsuccessful sales strategy, as customers tire of looking through irrelevant, poorly-labelled image sets.  Web sites take even longer to wade through. In some cases, companies with the most to offer are being ignored in favour of those with smaller feeds which are easier to look through.

A Core Celeb feed can re-focus, or be added to existing image distribution systems.  Editing feeds to deliver what is relevant helps earn extra one-off sales, and supports the usability and worth of subscription deals.  All for a few cents per image set.  Core Celeb image editors can create and deliver feeds and image alerts throughout the news day, in a variety of time zones.  Addressing the demands of the key markets is a major focus.  What is of interest in Britain may not be in America, Germany or Australia.

Overall, by making it easier to find the best images, we keep our clients at the forefront of suppliers, allowing them to maximise sales, and keep image buyers valuing their subscription services.

News, Views And Information

The Picsell Media blog contains news and insights relating to image metadata, editing, workflow, keywording, distribution, focused feeds, research, and brands found in images of celebrities.  Click on the post below to be taken to our blog to read the full story.  You can click here to go straight to the blog.

Losing Focus With Your Image Feeds?

Sending too many images to prospective buyers is a cardinal sin, but often one that is committed due to lack of staff and time.  How do we know a Focused Feed of images – edited down to meet the target market, without overwhelming customers – is worthwhile?  And what can you do about focusing your image feeds?

Image: Shutterstock

The answer to the first question comes from frontline experience of seeing how clients have benefitted from the edited feeds. Universally, they have received positive feedback from their overworked customers who say they appreciate being able to look through what’s on offer quickly, and that they find it easier to buy.

In many cases this has meant that image feeds previously viewed by picture editors last each morning (and sometimes not at all) are the first to be considered for purchase.

What’s more, the experiment of turning on Focused Feeds, then seeing how things go without them, has been tried by one of our clients.  The result was a significant dip in sales as disgruntled customers complained about going back to the bad old days of lots of irrelevant imagery and overwhelming volume.  Once the Focused Feed was reinstated, sales picked up again.  Lesson learned.

To find out how to focus your image feeds and improve sales around the clock, contact us by clicking here.  We can talk you through how we can edit your images, and, where appropriate, arrange for a limited-time trial.  At the very least you will find out if the process works for your customers.

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Rage Against The Machine

Search rage is best defined as the uncontrollable frustration and anger resulting from being unable to find what is being searched for on the internet.  For businesses such as photo libraries, video libraries and on-line retailers that means lost sales.

Image: Shutterstock

The key thing for on-line libraries and retailers to understand is that people can get so annoyed that they may not return to your site, and certainly are likely to return to the sites of your competitors if the experience is significantly better.  The key driver of that frustration is how long it takes to find what is wanted.

Good keywording and simple search mechanisms are the answer to the problem, but it is not always obvious that this is necessary.  It is tempting to think only about existing customers and whether they can find what they’re looking for in any one search session.  The problem is that those who were frustrated with how hard it was to find what they wanted have long since voted with their mice and gone elsewhere, which makes the problem all the harder to find. “None of our customers have complained so we don’t think keywording is an issue”, I was once told by a photo library which is now starting to lose sales to a keyword-conscious competitor.

And how badly do people get frustrated? According to a study by company Webtop, the answer is “very”. Their study in 2000 showed about 1/3 reported difficulty searching to be “very frustrating,” rising to nearly 3/4 reporting frustration of some significant degree (3 or above).

On a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all frustrated and 5 is very frustrated, how frustrating do you find getting irrelevant information when web searching?

5 – Very frustrated 29%
4 17%
3 31%
2 11%
1 – Not at all frustrated 9%

Of even more interest perhaps was the question of how long iwas too long until searching the web drove people crazy? On average, 12 minutes, the survey found. The survey also showed that if searching could provide results in 3 minutes or less, only 7 percent of people would be frustrated.

So how long does it take before you get frustrated searching the Web for accurate information?

Longer than 15 minutes 49%
11-15 minutes 13%
6-10 minutes 15%
4-5 minutes 12%
2-3 minutes 3%
1 minute 1%
0-30 seconds 3%
Don’t know 4%

So next time you wonder if your site is as searchable as it should be, try doing some very specific searches and see how long it takes to find what you need.  Using the table above you’ll be able to get a good idea of how many customers and sales are at stake.

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Brand Info – Find It to Protect It

Huge numbers of celebrity images contain brand information, even if the photographer and their agents don’t realise.  The question isn’t so much if it can be found (it can) but who will benefit from those links.

Image: Shutterstock

Those who have identified the links can profit from them by licensing them to PR firms, brand managers and retailers paying for get-the-look features.  An image with identifiable brands that celebrities use and wear therefore has a potentially higher value than those that don’t.

But there is nothing to stop someone licensing such an image at a bargain-basement rate and then using it for a high-value purpose.  To stop losing out on such revenue, here are three important measures you can take:

  1. Identify the brands in the first place.  Without this step you have no way of finding or selling the brands.
  2. Find and sell the images to those with an interest in brands as early as possible to beat others in the market.
  3. Establish links with brand image re-sellers and re-users, such as those publishing get-the-look features, to establish regular brand sales channels.

To find out how to make money from celebrity brand images, click here.

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New Year, New Ideas

As image and news agencies get to grips with the challenges of 2017, here are a few ideas about things you could change to make life easier, and improve sales:

Image: Shutterstock

Curate to improve performance – Spewing unedited sets of images to potential buyers used to work once upon a time, but not in 2017. Make this the year you get to grips with your production and find ways to showcase your best images while minimising the rest.

Make the lives of your customers easier – Offer, or enhance, services such as image research and image ranking, and anticipate customer needs by creating sets of images that are ready to drop into their web pages. It all adds up to more revenue.

Embrace new revenue streams – Whether it’s marketing images displaying brands, or providing read-to-go image sets, or another idea, take the time to develop new revenue streams rather than simply relying on the old ones.

Make the most of social media – If you’re not using social media to promote your production and/or your successes, stop watching competitors steal a march on you.  Social media can not only build sales, it’s a great tool to recruit photographers and other contributors.

Outsource for efficiency – Cut costs and get work down 24/7.  It’s an industry that doesn’t stop, and lack of directly-employed staff doesn’t have to hold you back.

To find our more about how Core Celeb can help you in 2017, click here.

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You Choose – the Hard Way, or the Easy Way

It’s one of the oldest lines in the book: “we can do this the hard way, or the easy way – your choice”.  The astonishing thing is how often people opt for the hard way and suffer the consequences.  

Image: Shutterstock

But having seen all the wrong ways to do things, Picsell Media knows how to find the easy way, and help you reap the rewards of efficiency and better business focus.

Of course what constitutes “the hard way” isn’t always obvious, but having spent a lot of time getting to grips with other people’s metadata and image workflow systems, it normally boils down to them being convoluted, cumbersome, time-consuming, poorly documented and unreliable.

The root cause of all of these problems is that the design of the system tends to be way too complicated.  What leads to that complication is:

  1. Attempts to shoehorn together pieces of software that aren’t really integrated
  2. Use of software for a purpose it wasn’t primarily designed for
  3. No regard for the practicalities of working with the system
  4. Constant “updates” of the system which are really just elaborate and time-consuming workarounds
  5. Capture by software vendors who know little or nothing about the day-to-day work you have to do
  6. A lack of experience in how such systems work, which leaves them being created in isolation, ignorant of best practice and alternative methodology

Picsell Media can help you avoid such mistakes by looking at the system from a user’s perspective, rather than a software seller’s perspective.  Our team has unrivalled experience in what works throughout the industry, which can save you from the pain of trial and error.  And our managers know how to help design a system to meet your needs.

Unfortunately, ease-of-use often only becomes an issue once a system is up and running.  By then, it may be too late to rectify earlier bad choices.  While it is easy as a manager to simply expect the staff to cope, in the end everyone suffers through poor staff retention, costs of having to employ more staff than needed, and lost sales through distribution and other errors which have their origin in the difficulty of the system.

To find out how to do things the easy way, click here.

 

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Christmas Wish List For The New Year

As this is the last blog post for 2016, it seems appropriate to look forward to 2017. Rather than try to predict the future, here are some ideas for New Year resolutions that could help improve business.

Image: Shutterstock

Get more organised – In the cut and thrust of everyday business, it’s easy to forget to review how well things are organised. Getting better organised, particularly with production systems, can improve speed to market, save money and enable you to focus on business-building decisions.

Focus production – Less isn’t always more, just mostly. Think about whether you are inundating clients with unwanted images, and if so, do something about it with focused feeds.

Improve your social media presence – If you aren’t already on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, now is the time to start promoting your images and your successes.  It helps keep and attract photographers, and aids sales.  If you’ve already taken the plunge, have a look at the frequency and quality of your posts – are they achieving what you want, as often as you want.

Work around the clock – If you’re not already engaged in promotional activity and production work 24/7, you need to be. The image/video-buying world simply doesn’t stop at the end of business hours.

Add new revenue streams – Selling images with brands, ready-made image galleries, paid-for research services.  The list goes on and on.  Make 2017 the year when you pursue new money-making ideas.

To find out more about how we can help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions, click here.

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How Brand Savvy Are You?

Are you ready to make money by licensing celebrity brand images? See what your score is on this simple preparedness test. Unless the score is 5 out of 5, you’re not maximising sales.

Image: Shutterstock

1. Are you already identifying brands in images? – This is the most basic building block for making sales to PR companies and brand managers. You can’t sell something you don’t have. If you aren’t doing this yourself, try outsourcing to experts such as BrandKeywording.com.

2. Do you identify just fashion brands, or other brands as well? – To maximise sales, you should be looking for as many brands as possible. That means cars, baby strollers, mobile phones and many other non-fashion products.

3. Do you identify brands in candid as well as event images? – Most brand keywording, such as it is, focuses on red carpet event images. Identifying brands in candid celebrity images is even more worthwhile as the items are easier for consumers to purchase, and there is relatively less competition between photographers for candid pics.

4. Do your photographers take images to show off the brands that can be seen in the images they take? – By adding a few extra frames to each set of images you can increase potential sales. Photographers should be routinely taking close-ups of handbags, shoes, jewellery and other brand items.

5. Do you have someone who specialises in dealing with PR companies and brand managers? – To make sales, you need someone who makes selling to PR companies and brand managers a regular part of their daily work. A dedicated staff member, and/or an outsourced sales team is ideal.

To find out how many brands can be identified in your images, try our 1,000 Image Challenge – just click here.

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The Long And Short Of Celebrity Brand Photography

Shooting a few extra images can open opportunities for selling images containing brands. This advice applies equally to candid images as event.

Amazingly, only a very few photographers are taking such images. Here are some tips on the sort of extra images worth taking to build brand image sales:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Close-ups on items and logos – Brand image sets are always enhanced with close-ups of each item.  This includes handbags, sunglasses, shoes, jewellery and the logos on display.  You can also focus on non-fashion items such as mobile phones, headphones, baby bottles and more.  There are many more sales opportunities than just fashion.

Getting close-ups also makes it much easier to identify the brands, which is a big part of being able to make sales.

Long shots and GVs – Conversely, it’s just as important to back off, to pick up the brands from a wider angle. The most obvious target is to show what car/vehicle the star is driving/arrived in.  It has long been the practice to do a mailbox crop so that only the windscreen is visible, with the celebrities inside.  That misses the opportunity to make a brand sale to a car manufacturer’s PR firm.  If you couple the wide shots showing the whole car (preferably from a flattering angle including the celeb) with a badge shot, you have the perfect set for brand sales.  You can apply the same principle to pictures of stars engaging in activities such as riding bicycles or showboarding.

There are also sales opportunities with images showing where a star has been, whether that’s a restaurant, coffee shop, gymnasium or hotel.  It takes only a few seconds to get a shot of the sign over the door and a GV of the building.

Locations can also help, especially when stars are on overseas tours.  So pictures of the country’s flag, or iconic motifs from the city or place can also be helpful, particularly if the celebrity is in the frame.  This is also helpful for ordinary editorial sales.

To find out more about brand keywording, click here.

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Using Simplicity To Achieve Efficiency

If you are merging, restructuring or reorganising your metadata system, the key to success is simplification. Simpler systems are usually faster and more economical to work with, and require far less maintenance and have far fewer IT issues.

Image:  Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Here are some tips on how to achieve that outcome:

1. Get some advice before starting – You can save yourself a lot of trouble if you find a consultant who is aware of the appropriate software and how easy it is to use.  Talk to a few of them.  Tell them you want a simple solution, and see what they deliver.

2. Talk to users, not salespeople – When assessing the simplicity and usability of a metadata/image library system, talk to people who have used it elsewhere, not just the salesperson’s pitch.  That way you’ll get an accurate picture.

3. Get industrial-strength hardware and software – Almost every application works fine enough when not under load.  You need to be sure, though, that as volume and needs increase (including storage space) that the system can cope.  Don’t try to skimp by trying to turn consumer software or hardware into something it’s not.

4. Reduce your pathways/processes – When receiving or sending out images, or doing any other task, try to stick to as few ways of doing things as possible.  That might require an uploader and an FTP, but not multiple FTPs or several different programs for adding metadata.

5. Have clear separation of functions such as sales, admin and production  – That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be integrated, but don’t confuse the issue by doing things like using an FTP folder to do double duty as a place to upload new images and also hold admin information.

6. Have a central point for monitoring and information – The most effective thing is to have a dashboard with all the key information collected automatically.  Huge amounts of time can be wasted looking in different places to find out what’s going on, if anything.

To find out more about how to improve your system and get advice, click here.

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